Liam Perseus, Chapter Master of the Azure Flames, strode onto the bridge of His Hammer II with a look of disgust on his face. In a rare display, Admiral Piers looked up from the monitors surrounding his command throne.
“How went the Exterminatus of the Kutner system, my lord?” Piers asked before turning his attention back to orchestrating the machinations of his Battle Barge.
“It was unnecessary. The Necrons are gone.” Perseus spat.
Piers raised one eyebrow. “You sound disappointed.”
“Wouldn’t you be?” Perseus shot back. “The filthy xenos don’t have the stomach for a fight. I wanted to cleanse that world of them, but it seems that they have done so for us.”
“Their disappearance allows me to proceed with the final phase of this crusade.” Piers began typing almost too fast for Perseus to follow. “Brother O’Brien, open a channel to all Imperial ships, Emerald encryption.” Piers waited for confirmation before beginning. ” Attention Imperial Navy vessels. This is Admiral Piers in command of the Azure Flames fleet. Although you refuse to submit to our authority, we do have a common enemy. We move to chase the Tau who fled this sector to preserve their homeworld. You would be welcome in cleansing this xenos scum alongside us. In the Emperor’s name.” Piers ended the transmission. “Brother, dispatch orders to Flame, Wrath, and Blade squadrons to begin warp translation and pursue the Tau fleet.”
“You have no intention of chasing the Tau all the way back to the Damocles Gulf.” Perseus stated in a flat, emotionless cadence.
“Of course not, my lord.” Piers replied.
“…and the Imperials know that Emerald level encryption has been broken by the cowardly aliens?” Perseus continued in the same tone.
In the most blase voice possible, Piers answered “They remain unaware. The Tau will decipher that message within minutes.”
“So,” Perseus yelled, his voice growing to a shout, “You have just informed the Traitors that we will leave Laurie’s Hope undefended, and allowed the aliens to KNOW? The Tau will double their retreat, forever preventing us from crushing them, and the Imperials WILL THROW EVERYTHING THEY HAVE AT US!”
Piers turned and looked Perseus directly in the eye, and smiled. “Yes my lord. They most certainly will.”
In the final game of the campaign, Nathaniel, the only other surviving opponent played a winner-take all Planetary Assault against the Hive World of Laurie’s Hope! Will the Space Marines be able to defend this prize, or will the Imperials take it away from them?
Planetary Assault – 1500pts
Nathaniel – Imperial Navy
-Emperor Battleship Thor’s Gaze, Shark Assault Boats
-Retribution Battleship Nieman Lion
-Mars Battlecruiser Saratoga, third turret, Flagship, Admiral Ld8 with one Re-roll
-Overlord Battlecruiser Centaur, third turret, left shift on batteries
-Cobra Squadron x4 Exemplar Squadron
-Heavy Transport Argosy
Bozeman – Azure Flames Space Marines
-Battle Barge His Hammer II, Honour Guard, Terminator Boarding Parties, Flagship: Ranidan Piers, Admiral (Ld10) 3 re-rolls, Crew Skill: Extra re-roll for this ship
-Strike Cruiser Vigilance, Extra Shield, Refit: +1Ld for Reload Ordnance
-Strike Cruiser Duty, Extra Shield, Crew Skill: Pass one Leadership check automatically, Refit: +2 Hull Points, -5cm Speed
-Strike Cruiser Courage, Extra Shield, Crew Skill: Re-roll x2, Refit: +2D6 on All Ahead Full
-Strike Cruiser Sacrifice, Extra Shield, Refit: +1D6 for Critical Repairs
-Strike Cruiser Honor, Extra Shield, Crew Skill: +1Ld for Lock on, Refit: Suffer no movement penalty for Blast Markers
-Minefield (15cm x 15cm)
-Minefield (15cm x 10cm)
-Orbital Defence Platform (batteries)
-Ground Laser Battery x4
-Ground Air Base x2
Turn 1 – Azure Flames
Turn 1 – Imperial Navy
Every ship in the fleet except the two Battlecrusiers goes on All Ahead Full. The Mars uses Come to a New Heading to maneuver to get line of sight for the Nova Cannon and the Overlord fails. Wild scatter on the Nova Cannon does no damage. Emperor fires 2 Fighters and 6 Bombers, while Mars fires 4 Bombers.
Turn 2 – Azure Flames
Fleet advances. Bombers launched by the Mars are lost in an asteroid field.
Turn 2 – Imperial Navy
Thor’s Gaze goes on All Ahead Full, but other ships fail. Cobra squadron fires a Strength 8 torpedo wave.
Turn 3 – Azure Flames
The Courage and Sacrifice fire torpedoes, Thunderhawks, and Bombardment cannons which annihilate the Cobra Squadron. Bombardment Canons from Honor and Vigilance take out the bomber wave, while their torpedoes and Thunderhawks fly directly into the path of the Retribution Battleship. Duty’s Thunderhawks move in front of the Emperor Battleship.
Turn 3 – Imperial Navy
The Retribution braces against the Space Marine ordnance. Poor torpedo roll does no damage, but Thunderhawk Gunships take out the dorsal lances. The Emperor’s turrets make mincemeat out of the Thunderhawks, but a poor leadership test does 3 damage from asteroids. Nova Cannon from the Mars glances the Duty, lowering one shield. 5 torpedoes from the Retribution ignore the Duty and move past it.
Turn 4 – Azure Flames
Torpedoes and Thunderhawks cause the Mars to brace, barely saving it from being crippled. Broadsides pound the Heavy Transport. His Hammer II boards Thor’s Gaze and does 2 damage, starts 2 fires, and damages the starboard weapons. Broadside fire kills 2 transports, and torpedoes kill another. A good brace save protects the last transport and the Overlord Battlecruiser from harm.
Turn 4 – Imperial Navy
Mars moves up and fires the Nova Cannon at the asteroids hoping for a lucky scatter. Fortune is fickle, and the template scatters onto BOTH His Hammer II AND the Neiman Lion, lowering one shield each. Thor’s Gaze runs through the asteroids, taking one damage from an unrepaired Fire. Torpedoes from the Overlord miss His Hammer II. In a gutsy move, the Nieman Lion boards the Strike Cruiser Duty, and in a double surprise the action is a TIE!
Turn 5 – Azure Flames
Honor and Vigilance board the Mars, crippling it. Despite brace saves, the Heavy Transport explodes, the last escort class transport is killed, and the Overlord battlecruiser is crippled. An Orbital Mine from the Minefield hits Thor’s Gaze, causing 3 more Fire effects! Duty and the Nieman Lion fight another boarding action, and it is another tie! DOUBLE TIE!
Turn 5 – Imperial Navy
Crippled and on fire, Thor’s Gaze disengages. The crippled Overlord fails to navigate the asteroids and is destroyed. The Mars, crippled and braced, lowers a shield on the Duty. Finally, the boarding fight between the Duty and the Nieman Lion is decisive: 7 damage to the Nieman Lion, crippling it. Critical damage finishes off the Nieman Lion, leaving it a drifting hulk.
Turn 6 – Azure Flames
All nearby ships Lock On and destroy the Mars. Turn not pictured. Game over.
WHAT A SLAUGHTER! Nathaniel had some bad luck, but mostly he let the Space Marines get close. He would have done better with Dauntless cruisers with lances and a mix of boats with balanced weapons. Some more Nova Cannons would not have hurt either.
This concludes the Battlefleet Gothic Campaign for the summer! Stay tuned for more fluff to wrap up the story, including a surprise guest!